A Marine Corps veteran charged in a bomb hoax at the FBI’s Manhattan field office said his motive was getting the feds to pay attention to his claims that a foreign government hacked him, prosecutors said Thursday.
Checo Nunez, 33, of Queens, now faces federal charges in the alleged hoax, which shut down Federal Plaza in lower Manhattan as authorities searched his van Wednesday.
Nunez walked into 26 Federal Plaza Wednesday afternoon and slammed a copy of a written complaint he made about his hacking fears against the screen of the security booth, federal authorities said.
He believed that the hackers obtained a sexually explicit photo of his spouse and were trying to extort him, and he thought the FBI was ignoring him, according to a complaint filed in Manhattan Federal Court.
The booth is staffed by the FBI’s uniformed security police. Nunez then told the officers he had an “IED,” or improvised explosive device, in his van outside, and that he wanted to turn himself in, the feds say.
Authorities searched the van, and found no bomb. Instead, they found a black-and-white Husky and two duffel bags, police sources said.
Police and federal agents also found several rounds of .223-caliber ammo, and written materials on weapons of mass destruction and the detection of IEDs, the feds say.
Nunez served in the Marines from 2006 to 2013 as an engineer equipment operator and small arms repair technician, according to federal authorities.
He’s charged with a single count of conveying false information and hoaxes, and faces up to five years in federal prison if convicted.
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